NEWS RELEASE: Miles City Schools Begin School Year in Tier 1 - District Leadership Narrows Focus to Goals of Strategic Plan
The Miles City School District opened its doors to teachers and staff on Monday, August 23rd. The week serves as one of preparation as teachers and staff ready themselves for the students that will enter the District’s six schools on Monday, August 30th. Beginning its third consecutive school year with restrictions and challenges caused by COVID-19, the District is referring to its current condition as “next normal.” While a new normal has certainly not been established, members of the District team feel confident that this next normal positions them well for the challenges and opportunities that will come during the 2021-22 school year.
At its June 8th board meeting, the board of trustees voted unanimously to rescind all emergency policies and in doing so, ended the declared state of emergency for the District. Shortly after, the governor declared that Montana was no longer in a state of emergency either. While there are no emergency policies in place, the District has two well-established plans that it can rely on should the conditions within the schools change. The two plans, the Safe and Healthy Reopening Plan and the Remote Learning Plan lay out a tiered approach to opening District schools and also outline a continuity of services plan should the District or any one of its buildings need to move tiers due to changing conditions associated with COVID.
Currently, all District schools find themselves in Tier 1, which looks like traditional, brick and mortar schooling. No remote learning options will be available, as all instruction will take place face-to-face. Masking will be optional for students and staff. Vaccines are also optional, and unless contact tracing is required, no student or staff will be asked about their vaccination status. All inquiries regarding vaccination status will be conducted by OneHealth/public health. The District will not be the entity requesting this information. Cleaning protocols that were adopted last school year will remain in place. Good hand hygiene will continue to be encouraged, including the availability of hand sanitizer. In Tier 1, the schools will be much more open to visitors and volunteers, and each school plans to proceed with open houses, planned programs, events, and concerts, and activities and athletic events will resume a more normal schedule without restrictions on fans, either home or away. As per President Biden’s executive order, masks are still required when on any type of school bus, as this is considered public transportation. This requirement will affect those who ride bus before or after school, and all students participating in athletics and activities requiring the use of a bus. Students, coaches, and driver are required to wear a mask at all times while on the bus. The exception to this executive order allows the driver, when the bus is empty, to remove his/her mask.
In this year of next normal, the District is committed to the finalization of a three to five year strategic plan which establishes four District goals in the areas of: Curriculum, Quality Instruction, Partnerships, and Quality Learning Environments. While leaders of the District recognize that COVID is still impacting their schools and their daily operations, the efforts of District leadership will be focused on meeting the demands of these goals and realizing changes that will lead to new growth and vitality in the Miles City School District.
The District is fully staff and ready to greet students beginning August 30, 2021. Thank you Miles City community for entrusting your children’s education to the Miles City School District.